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Tuesday, August 20, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Park board approves new plan for Sky Prairie Park improvements

Five Mile Prairie residents have teamed up with students and staff at Eastern Washington University to come up with a new master plan for Sky Prairie Park in northwest Spokane.

The plan calls for a series of improvements such as a splash pad, circuit training court and pickleball lines.

There is a limited amount of money available for implementing the plan. The money came from voluntary impact fees on one development in the area, said City Councilwoman Candace Mumm, who lives near the park and has been active in its creation and development.

Because of limited funds, the full set of recommended improvements likely will take many years, she said.

“We may not get all of it at once, but we can build toward that,” Mumm said.

But the master plan should help the park projects qualify for grants or for allocations from the park department’s capital improvement funding, she said.

The master plan was approved by the Park Board in November.

The work was undertaken by members of the Five Mile Prairie Neighborhood Association and students in the EWU urban and regional planning program under Professor Gregg Dohrn.

Sky Prairie Park is one of three designated community parks in the city, and as such, it is intended to serve a broad area of the community. The other two are Riverfront Park and Manito Park.

The planning involved assembling neighborhood data, reviewing existing conditions and developing an implementation strategy.

Establishing a Friends of Sky Prairie Park is part of the implementation plan.

The 26-acre park is located on the south side of Strong Road just west of Austin Road.

It was completed in 2001 for $2 million and features a wide open space as a remnant of the native prairie.

Trails run through and around the open space.

The park is accompanied by the adjacent 26-acre Austin Ravine Conservation Area, which provides additional open space for residents.

As residents and students looked at the park, they engaged other neighbors and park users for ideas.

Some of the issues that arose were the need for lighting, more shade trees and a water feature such as a splash pad, Mumm said.

The group developed three alternatives with the preferred alternative having the largest number of proposed changes and amenities.

An amphitheater, basketball court, gazebo, grass volleyball court, a soccer field for organized competition, a community bulletin board and new paved trails are among the proposed improvements.

The history of the park dates back to the 1990s when residents of Five Mile Prairie realized the fast-growing residential area needed a park with open space.

Mumm said she moved to Five Mile Prairie in 1996 and started working with her neighbors on the park.

They also worked to gain voter approval of a $15 million park bond in 1999, which provided money for park construction.

“We really did draw from the community for this community park,” Mumm said.

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